When I was born, my father—perhaps spending a few months’ wages—purchased a custom-made gold necklace with “Blissful” engraved on the heart pendant. The necklace has since been stored in my mother’s jewelry box and—from the beginning of my memory—in my heart.
My father was a big play toy for my little brother and me. When I was young, my favourite activity was to “horse-ride” on my father’s back. Besides being our playmate my father also made us toys. In my eyes, my father could do everything. However, he sacrificed personal growth for his two children. My father used to work in a large company. This meant leaving the house early in the morning and coming back home late, depriving him of family time. He decided to leave his lucrative position and applied for a doctorate degree. He made a calculated decision: if he became a professor, he would be able to spend more time at home with the children.
While studying for his doctorate degree, father would help us with our homework. Every Friday evening, he would take us to night markets. During summer and winter vacations, our whole family would traipse to Taiwan’s historical sites, over forest trails, and even vacation in wooden cottages. Looking back, I wonder how my father completed his dissertation whilst spending so much time with us. I only recall that on a certain day in a certain year, father told us he had graduated. Things that were difficult for others, father would appear to achieve with no effort. Father also liked to chat with me. He would ask me lots of detailed questions that annoyed me to no end. It was only after entering the monastery that I realized that his motivation for asking me so many questions was him wanting to be involved in every moment of my life. His biggest concern was whether I could find someone to take care of me.
After entering the monastery, my parents started to attend Lamrim classes. They wanted to learn why Lamrim is so appealing to me. What was in the contents of the book that spurred their daughter to pursue it diligently for the rest of her life? Whenever my father visited me in the monastery, I would always ask about his health, whether he was living comfortably. Father would always brush off the question, lightly replying that he was doing well. But it was only through my mother, that I found out that my father actually experienced discomfort in many areas. He chose not to mention his difficulties because he wanted me to be focused on my learning in the monastery and not worry too much about him.
Father said that me becoming a renunciate is better than getting married. As such whenever he visits the monastery, he would always joyfully offer the monastery. I would very much like to tell my father: “Thank you! Please don’t worry about me because I’ve found a place that will always take care of me.” My father’s custom-made gold necklace with the engraved heart pendant will never become my bridal gift. But in my heart, the necklace of ‘bliss’ is to create eternal bliss in my parents’ lives.